For many individuals considering coming to the United States to live and work, obtaining a green card is often their foremost and most immediate goal. While a green card may sound inconsequential, it actually refers to the identification card that is granted when an individual obtains legal permanent resident status. Legal permanent resident status provides certain benefits and is one of the steps one must take on the path to becoming a citizen.
What Does a U.S. Green Card Authorize or Permit?
A permanent resident card is commonly referred to as a green card. A green card is evidence that the alien bearer maintains permanent residency status in the United States. Immigrants who have obtained a green card have also obtained certain rights and duties based on their legal permanent resident status.
For one, a permanent resident card will enable a legal permanent resident to leave the United States on a temporary basis and spend time in other nations. When he or she wishes to return, the green card should allow the individual to return to the United States. Other rights authorized by the green card include:
- Your right to live permanently in the United States.
- Your right to work in the United States.
- Your right to protection under the Constitution and laws of the United States and its states.
However, with the privileges of permanent resident status come responsibilities. All legal permanent residents are required to support the democratic form of government. Certain permanent residents are also required to register for the Selective Service.
How Can I Get a Green Card?
There are an array of paths through which an intending immigrant may be able to obtain legal permanent resident status, and thus, a green card. In general, there are two paths to a green card. The first is obtaining a green card through a family-based visa process. The second common method is obtaining a visa through employment or job-based (employment-based) immigration.
There are numerous means through which a person can engage in employment-based immigration. The visa that he or she applies for is guided by the individual’s achievements, job, and professional credentials. There are five types of employment-based visas in the United States: EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4, and EB5. Potential paths for employment-based immigration include:
- EB-1 visa for priority workers – Foreign workers showing extraordinary abilities in arts, science, education, business, or other areas may qualify for a visa.
- EB-2 visa for professionals – Certain professionals holding advanced degrees and at least five years of experience is a candidate for an EB-2 visa.
- EB-3 visa for skilled workers – The EB-3 visa is available for certain skilled workers and professionals.
- EB-4 visa for special workers – The EB-4 visa is offered ministers, certain covered religious workers, and certain government employees.
- EB-5 for immigrant investors – The EB-5 visa offers a pathway to citizenship on the basis of an investment into an American commercial venture. EB-5 is an especially popular with investors from China and other nations where capital controls are in place.
What Forms will I need to File to Get a Green Card?
The exact forms and processes a immigrant seeking a green card will need to complete is dependent on the basis for immigration and other factors. However, individuals may need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status along with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Depending on whether you already live in the United State or still live in a foreign nation, concurrent processing may be available. Working with an immigration attorney can help you better understand your options in the immigration process.
What Comes After a Green Card? U.S. Citizenship?
After you have achieved permanent resident status as evidenced by your green card and satisfied (or likely to satisfy) all conditions that may be imposed on your green card, LPRs can petition for citizenship. The process through which a green card holder obtains citizenship is known as naturalization. We can help you satisfy all conditions placed upon the naturalization process and file your paperwork. We can guide green card holders through the entire naturalization process.
Work with Orlando Green Card Lawyers of Colombo & Hurd
If you are looking to immigrate to the United States on the basis of relatives already living and working in the United States as citizens or legal permanent residents, the lawyers of Colombo & Hurd can help. If you’ve already come to the United States and wish to make arrangements so that other qualifying family members can follow, we also may be able to help. To schedule a confidential consultation with our immigration team, call us today.